Mental health is an increasingly important topic, especially when it pertains to the workplace. The stress and demands of work can often have a negative effect on employees’ mental health and well-being. It is essential to create a safe environment of support for your colleagues who are struggling with their mental health. Here are some tips on how to best support them in your workplace.
The most important thing you can do as a coworker is to provide a safe place and to listen without judgment. The Mental Health Commission of Canada defines a safe place as “a supportive, non-threatening environment where all participants can feel comfortable to express themselves and share experiences without fear of discrimination or reprisal”.
Everyone experiences mental health issues differently, so it is important to show genuine care and compassion toward those in need of support. Many people just want to be heard. Listening without judgement is an important skill in any situation, but especially when supporting someone struggling with a mental illness. It’s natural for us all to have opinions and advice when it comes to personal struggles—but sometimes these opinions can actually do more harm than good if they come off as too judgmental or dismissive of the person’s feelings and experience.
Instead, listen attentively without suggesting solutions or providing advice unless asked for it directly; just let your coworker know that you are there for them however you can be helpful. Avoid making assumptions or giving unsolicited advice; instead, focus on validating their thoughts and feelings. Additionally, be sure that any conversations remain confidential and avoid discussing sensitive matters in public areas of the office Creating a safe space where everyone feels comfortable talking about their struggles will help foster an open dialogue around mental health in the workplace.
Sometimes, all someone needs is an occasional check-in from a friend or colleague just to see how they are doing and remind them that they aren’t alone. Make sure that you check in regularly with any coworkers who may be struggling with mental health issues, but remember not to push too hard if they don’t seem interested in talking about it. Respect their wishes and let them know that you care without pressuring them into talking about something they may not be prepared for yet.
Mental health issues can be hard for people to talk about – but it doesn’t have to be. By being supportive and understanding, we can all help create a safe environment where our coworkers feel comfortable discussing their feelings and challenges openly without fear of judgment or repercussions. Remember: everyone is fighting their own battle behind closed doors, so being kind and compassionate will go a long way toward supporting those who are struggling with mental health issues at work!